The Key to Happiness: Make Excuses or Make Magic

DenaJune 28, 2011

I want to let you in on an enormous secret.  It’s huge.  It’s life changing.  It’s intense.  It’s a game changer.  It is the secret to happiness.

Are you ready for it?  You sure?  Okay.

Here it comes….













The key to happiness, is to be happy.

A Story
When I’m not doing epic, world-changing things like motivational speaking, writing, and life coaching; I work in an office.  For eight hours a day—Monday to Thursday—I’m an administrative manager.  I sit at a desk, compose emails, manage social media accounts, plan conferences, and so on.  Sometimes—actually a lot of times—I stuff envelopes.  We’re a small company, only four of us.  That means we all do everything—the big important stuff and the tiny administrative things (like stuffing envelopes).

Last week, I was working on a mailing.  At the particular moment that I’m referencing, I was applying stamps to envelopes—a few hundred of them.  There was nothing truly exceptional about that moment, except for the fact that I was really, really happy.  Every fiber of my being was glowing & I had the biggest smile on my face.

Yup.  Whilst applying hundreds of stamps to envelopes (nearly to the point of developing a blister on my thumb) I was grinning like a fool!

Some Happy Folks
A few months ago I was in Atlantic City for a conference.  The meeting space was located on the top floor of one of the nicest hotels in the city.  I was sitting at the registration desk when along came one of the banquet waiters—to my surprise—singing his heart out!

It didn’t take long for us to strike up conversation.  I was fascinated by this happy banquet waiter.  He was so musical & helpful & interesting.  Born in Ireland, he’s traveled the world, and has lived all over the U.S.  He’s got brothers & sisters spread out from New Zealand to Colorado.  For the past few years he’s called a little suburb outside of Atlantic City his home.  He waits at several casinos in A.C. (sometimes 18-hour shifts!) and he loves it.  He’s always smiling & singing and he’s really, really happy.

Thinking about that banquet waiter reminds me of the UPS and FedEx guys that frequent our office.  These guys are so cool.  We see them at least a few times a week and they’re always smiling & happy.  (Yes, it’s possible to be happy even when you hate your job.)

It also reminds me of the Masai people that I met while traveling in Kenya.  Like the banquet waiter & the postal workers, on the surface, these people didn’t seem to have all that much to be happy about.  In fact they didn’t have much at all.  They lived in huts—literally three plastered walls with straw roofs—some no bigger than my bedroom closet.  Most huts were without possessions.  The furnished ones housed a pot, a straw mat on the dirt floor, and a stone bench.  No running water or electricity anywhere.

But I’ll be darned if these people weren’t the happiest folks I’ve ever met in my life!  Talk about smiling, friendly, and joyous!  I’ve never seen anything like it—the men, the women, the children, the elderly—all happy.  And it wasn’t just one place, it was all over.  Every village that we visited from Kenya to Tanzania was full of smiles & happiness.

Back to the Story
So there I was, placing stamps on envelopes, smiling like a fool.  You may have guessed it by now, but I wasn’t ecstatic about stamping envelopes.  😉 As I sat there that day, I smiled because this really great song came on my iPhone & as the notes floated from the headphones to my ears, it reminded me of all that I have to be grateful for.  I started to count my blessings one by one—past, present, & future.

See, it’s wonderful to travel the world, to be filthy rich, to change lives, to inspire, to have great adventures.  But it’s also really wonderful to work in an office, to be a stay-at-home mommy, to enjoy a cup of tea with a friend, to be alive.  These things are wonderful when we choose to see them that way. Life is about perspective. It’s about the way that we choose to view the world & the things that happen in it.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.  —Wayne Dyer

The key to happiness is to be happy—to choose happiness.  Every day is an opportunity.  You can make excuses, or, you can make magic.

What will you choose?

Comments (6)

  • Lou Mello

    June 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    It’s not always easy to be happy, but, making the effort even when you don’t really quite feel like it will have the desired effect.

    Too many worries anyway, just let ’em slide and enjoy yourself a bit and that will make you happy as well.

  • andra watkins

    June 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Yesterday was a classic example of my practicing this tenant of life. I have been working for almost a year on a project, and I had to pull the plug on it yesterday. It has been stressful, and I am profoundly disappointed by the whole thing.

    So, I went to a local water park with a friend and played with her five-year-old all day. I laughed a lot and had a blast, and it helped me forget the thing that fell apart for a few hours. It even spilled over into today.

    1. Dena

      July 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

      @ Andra – Wow. It must be so difficult to pull the plug after a year. But I truly believe that we must “let it go if it isn’t serving us well.” I am so proud of you for having the strength, despite the disappointment. It sounds like you are doing everything right — you can’t go wrong with water parks & 5-year-olds!!! Love you so much, lady. <3

  • James Moffitt

    June 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    This is an AWESOME post. You are so correct. We have a choice on how we look at life. Is the glass half empty or half full. I am the eternal optimist and I always like to TRY and find the positive in everything. I find that the simple things in life make me the happiest. Being connected to my awesome family and my friends online and in real life make me happy. I am surrounded by such great and wonderful people. I thank God for all of you. Hugs

    1. Dena

      July 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

      @ James – Thank you so much for the kind words. 😉 You constantly inspire me with that half glass full approach. You are an example of what I mean when I say, “Practice gratitude. Spread love, spread light.” I am so grateful for you, too. XO

  • clarity star

    June 30, 2011 at 1:19 am

    I have chosen to live a magical life.

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